a guide to: word mis-use

Edit: Added "Loose".

What the hell - have another little faux guide thing. This one is for those particularly thick people out there. I know you're out there, lurking, with your defective brain.

Today we'll be tackling the misuse of words. That is, when someone uses a word they've heard of, but don't actually know its true meaning. They'll use them to try and appear more intelligent than they are. It doesn't work.

Literally

This is the first, and probably the most annoying one. Literally literally means actually (oh my!). If something had literally happened, then it has happened. It doesn't mean "pretty much", "practically", or "virtually". It means actually.

Its usage is to typically provide confirmation to a statement that it did in fact happen, no-matter how unbelievable it seems.

Examples:

"He was literally worked to death!" This means he was actually killed by overworking. He died. He be dead. Due to working. Too much. Which killed him.

"I literally crapped myself when it jumped out at me!" Brown plops forced their way out of your pipe and splattered in your pants. You shit yourself. You need to get changed, because of the shit. That's in your pants.

Ironic

Whatever statement (or annoyingly, a question) you use this word in is invariably incorrect. It doesn't mean co-incidence, nor does it mean bad luck. You got married on Saturday, and it turns out your church was double-booked with a friend you hadn't seen in years who was also getting married there, that very day? That's co-incidence. Hell, it's also bad luck. Sucks to be you. Ironic? No, not even slightly.

The best definition I know of goes thus: Someone buys a smoke detector for their house, but it short-circuits or whatever and sets fire to their house. That's irony. It was supposed to prevent fires (in a sense, anyway), but it instead caused a fire. The outcome was the opposite of what was intended.

You wearing the same slaggy dress as your friend when you both go out is just co-incidence - and that's it.

There's also melodramatic irony, but you'll need to learn to wear big-boy pants before you tackle that one.

Could Care Less

It's Couldn't Care Less, you moron. If you're a native English speaker but you can't understand the "not" in that phrase, then clearly English isn't the language for you.

Loose

What, seriously? It's lose, you fool. If it's "loose", then how the hell would you actually write "loose" - as in, it's becoming looser (less tight)? Are you thick, or something? Or what?

Posted: 2011-02-23 at 10:30:02,